Last weekend saw the inaugural Rostrevor Mountain Bike Festival take place in advance of the official opening of the new CRC-sponsored Rostrevor mountain bike trail centre in Northern Ireland later this week.
Rostrevor has been a mecca for mountain bike riders for many years, with the famous ‘Bin Run’ and many other trails being painstakingly dug, maintained and raced by a dedicated bunch of local riders. With the announcement of some new purpose built trails being constructed in the Co. Down forest nearly two years ago, there was much anticipation as to what the site would have to offer.
Team CRC/Nukeproof Ireland rider Chris McGlinchey reports…
This weekend just might have been the best mountain bike event to ever be held in Northern Ireland. Three events were held over the duration of the weekend covering cross-country, downhill and enduro. The schedule worked well for me and I managed to enter both the downhill (a round of the iDMS2013) and enduro on Monday.
My weekend started off early on Friday helping set up for the downhill race as my club (Chain Reaction Cycles) were hosting the event. I got a good chance to look at the track when I was taping it so I didn’t have to do this again later on in the day. The track was amazing in my eyes; it had a good mix of everything from fun flowing turns to technical rock gardens and awkward turns to test even the best of riders. I was really looking forward to practice the next day.
Practice on Saturday went really well for me, I felt like I got up to speed after only a few runs down the track and was only having trouble with a couple of tricky sections. Once I got all my lines sorted I ended the day with a full run and was really looking forward to race day.
Sunday rolled around and I was starting to feel the nerves a little bit. I did three practice runs in the morning and was feeling very confident. I grabbed something to eat and headed to the top with my turbo trainer and to watch the future of the sport come flying down the hill (U14 & U16). My seeding run was going pretty good, I was hitting all my lines quite smooth and then made a mistake coming into a tricky corner and washed my front wheel out. I tried to get back up and going again as quick as I could and finished my run in second place. I clearly wasn’t that far off the pace!
My race run was a little scrappy; I made a few mistakes on the top half of the track and knew I needed to keep it smooth on the lower half. I pedalled hard to the finish and came across the line in the lead with only one rider to go. Colin Ross came down into second place which meant that I had won, I was so happy and relieved at the same time about getting the win as I felt like there was a lot of pressure on me and I was glad that I was able to make it happen!
Watch the crashes video from the weekend:
Next up was the enduro race on Monday. After Sunday’s race it was fair to say I was a little bit tired but as there was no limit to the transition times we could go round at an easy pace until we got to each stage. It was a good chance to spend some time with some friends and it just felt like we were on our standard Sunday spin with a few timed stages in between, it was a great atmosphere.
All the stages were amazing, making full use of all the new trails on offer and with a great mix of terrain ranging from smooth flowing singletrack to technical rocky sections. I pushed hard in all my stages and was having one of the best days on a bike I’ve had in a while. Four hours later I finally finished the full loop and grabbed some food while waiting on the results. I managed to come second in the Elite category behind fellow CRC-supported rider Gareth McKee who was racing the cross-country race on Sunday so he must have been feeling it too!
Gareth was delighted with his win: “I really enjoyed today. The course was amazing and thanks to CRC I was able to ride a Vitus Escarpe 29er which proved to be the perfect weapon for the job!
Yesterday’s XC race was tough with some brutal climbs but the scenery and new trail routes that were used certainly made up for it. I was disappointed not to take the win in XC – so today’s enduro has more than made up for it!”
Do you want to ride the new trails? Find out all about them on MountainBikeNI.com.
|Five futuristic bikes that could be on a trail or road near you soon||Eight bikes on ebay that made us go “What the…?”||We think we've found dirt jump heaven…||Eight of the most insane bike inventions on Instructables|